The Tangleroot Palace: Stories
by Marjorie M. Liu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For those that still are confused: NOT A COMIC BOOK.
Anthology of short stories and novelletes , ranging from fantasy to horror and post-apocalypsis.
Apparently a good portion of readers know Marjorie M. Liu from the graphic novel "Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening", but I have been a fan of her ever since I read "The Iron Hunt" from her incredible urban fantasy series Hunter Kiss. Here she presents us with some of her short stories, of which I knew a couple; At the end of these Liu gives some comments from when they were written, some of which she considers to be part of the universe of her ideas (like Dirk & Steel), that is to say full of magic.
1)“Sympathy for the Bones” (4.3 stars)-for me a re-read- is a tale full of dark magic , hoodoo dolls, witches, and desperation in the mountains.
2)“Briar and Rose” (5 stars) is a retelling of Sleepy Beauty. A very interesting, and again dark story, of saphic love, dark witches, and a woman warrior looking to free her love. Skip all the stereotypes.
3)“Call Her Savage” (3.5 stars) steampunk and alternate history, where China is at war with England, and have colonies in America (Scot-Irish and Chinese people). A Marshall is call back to help. War , betrayal, and pain.
Took me a while to get me into this story, a bit confused by the setting. So much elements here. First frustration to hope for a full novel here.
4) “The Last Dignity of Man” (3 stars) a... genious mad scientist? a wannabe villain that dream about a hero? something like that. However, strangely this man with his loneliness pull at my feels.
5)“Where the Heart Lives” (3.5 stars) it's more in the fairytale side, with mysteries in the woods, strange dreams, a lost love, and a young woman finding acceptance and a place for herself.
6)“After the Blood” (3.5 stars) post-apocalypytic story, where the Amish are seek for farming skills, there are monsters in the woods, and a woman hide secrets but the powers calls. Oh, and a (view spoiler)[amish vampire. Reminds a tiny bit of Bill Compton here (hide spoiler)]. Cats are your best friends ;)
Again , leaves us wishing for a novel here.
7)“Tangleroot Palace”(3.6 stars) A princess who must marry a warlord, escapes to the forest looking for a possible solution, But she found old magic (view spoiler)[This time reminds with the horned queen and crows of Malefica (hide spoiler)]. With a bit of humor , a bit predictable but quite charming. I like the idea of strong woman saving herself.
And yes, a theme with the Woods, old magic, and souls trapped. Don't forget the broken people.